(828) 412-0688

Excessive Sweating

What is excessive sweating?

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating. This abnormal sweating can occur even when the temperature isn’t hot and you’re not exercising. It can be socially, emotionally, and professionally disruptive for many who suffer from it. Often a patient will sweat in one or two areas of the body which may drip with sweat while the rest of the body is dry. Sometimes the sweat soaks through clothing leaving obvious marks.

What causes hyperhidrosis?

The causes of hyperhidrosis can vary depending on whether it’s primary or secondary hyperhidrosis.

What is primary hyperhidrosis?

Primary Hyperhidrosis is the most common type. It’s not the result of another medical condition or a side effect of medications. It typically affects the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and underarms and often starts in childhood or adolescence.

Causes include:

  • A family history of hyperhidrosis.
  • The sympathetic nervous system controls sweating among other functions. An overactive sympathetic nervous system can lead to excessive sweating. However, why this occurs is not entirely understood.
  • For many people with primary hyperhidrosis, the exact cause remains unknown.

What is secondary hyperhidrosis?

Secondary hyperhidrosis can be caused by another medical condition or as a side effect of medications. The sweating might be all over the body or in a single area. A variety of medical conditions can cause secondary hyperhidrosis, including but not limited to:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Menopause
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Infectious diseases like tuberculosis
  • Medications: Side effects of some antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antipyretics.
  • Substance Abuse: Alcohol or drug abuse can also lead to secondary hyperhidrosis.
  • Neurological Conditions: Disorders affecting the nervous system, like Parkinson’s disease, can sometimes cause excessive sweating.

What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?

  • Wet palms, soles of the feet, or other areas of the body even under cool conditions or at rest.
  • Frequent sweating significant enough to soak through clothing.
  • Skin conditions might develop, such as bacterial or fungal infections.

How is it diagnosed?

Dr. Rains can often diagnose hyperhidrosis based on the patient’s descriptions after a thorough medical evaluation to rule out underlying conditions that may be causing the symptoms.

What are the treatment options for hyperhidrosis?

  • Topical prescription strength antiperspirants are generally the first line of treatment.
  • Qbrexza prescription topical wipes: They contain a drug that reduces sweating in patients nine years and older.
  • Iontophoresis: This treatment uses water to conduct a mild electrical current through the skin’s surface to temporarily shut down the sweat glands. It’s more commonly used for sweaty palms and soles. Treatments several times a week are needed to maintain results.
  • Medications: There are oral medications that can reduce sweating by blocking nerve signals to the sweat glands.
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox): Injected into the affected areas, it can block the nerves that cause sweating. The effect is temporary, so the treatment needs to be repeated every few months.
  • Microwave therapy: A device is used to deliver microwave energy to destroy sweat glands.
  • Laser treatments or sweat gland removal: These are less common and are typically reserved for severe cases.

Managing hyperhidrosis often requires a combination of treatments, and what works for one person might not work for another. It is important to get the correct diagnosis to learn about your treatment options. Contact Dr. Michael Rains at Beacon Dermatology in Asheville, North Carolina to schedule a consultation. Dr. Rains has the experience and expertise to diagnose and treat all your dermatologic conditions. He will tailor treatments to your individual needs.

Dr. Rains is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Beacon Dermatology in Asheville, North Carolina. His approach to aesthetic and dermatologic treatments is holistically focused on revealing and enhancing a patient’s natural beauty. Dr. Rains is known for his caring and compassionate approach to medicine, listening to patients’ concerns and goals and ensuring they receive excellent care and education to ensure they can make informed decisions about their treatments.

At a Glance

Michael Rains, MD, FAAD

  • Board certified in dermatology
  • Specializing in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology
  • Author of multiple peer-reviewed publications and previous adjunct faculty at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Learn more

Join Our Email Newsletter